Maria Sharapova set to return from doping ban

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Maria Sharapova is set to make her return to tennis at the Porsche Grand Prix in April following her 15-month doping ban.

The 29-year-old initially received a two-year ban last march after testing positive for the cardiac drug meldonium but received a reduced suspension in October following a successful appeal.

The tournament in Stuttgart starts two days before the Russian's suspension runs out and Sharapova won't be allowed to attend the tournament until the Wednesday, the day of her first match.

The former world number one will return without a ranking and needs a wildcard to enter the competition, but claims that she "could not be happier" to be competing again.

She said: "I could not be happier to have my first match back on tour at one of my favourite tournaments. I can't wait to see all my great fans and to be back doing what I love."

Sharapova, who is also sponsored by Porsche, has had a lot of success in Stuttgart in the past, with the 29-year-old winning the tournament three years in a row from 2012 to 2014.

However, the Russian won't have played a professional match in close to 14 months by the time the tournament comes around in April.

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Sharapova was a long-term user of meldonium and claims that she was unaware that it had been added to the banned substances list the World Anti-Drugs Authority (WADA) at the start of 2016 when she was flagged.

Sharapova rose to stardom when she became the woman's world number one for the very first time at just 18-years-old. However, injuries have hampered the Russian's career and she hasn't held the top spot in the rankings now since 2012.

Can Sharapova make a successful comeback? Should WADA do more to inform athletes of rule changes? Have YOUR say in the comments below.

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